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What Gallup’s employee engagement survey tells us in 2022/2023

Anna Kvasnevska

Team Building Expert & Writer

Global employee engagement is down. So if you haven't asked your team about their attitude towards the company for a while, now may be the time!  

But wait, what is employee engagement in the first place, and why should you care about it? 

Definition of employee engagement by Gallup

Gallup defines employee engagement as the "involvement and enthusiasm of employees in their work and workplace." Measuring it helps companies discover the associates' attitudes towards the organizational culture, improve team building activities and business processes, and build trust and community around the company. 

Disregarding employee engagement often results in decreased productivity and lost profits. Organizations must discover the main drivers of employee engagement and react accordingly.

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Employee engagement: Gallup model

You can measure the moods and attitudes of employees in your organization in many different ways, but we recommend the employee engagement model proposed by Gallup. 

Gallup model: employee engagement

According to the model, employee engagement takes place everywhere, all at once. 

Managers need to ensure their team members have the proper knowledge and tools to fulfill their basic responsibilities while simultaneously meeting their needs on the second and third levels. Fulfilling the expectations and needs from the three foundational levels reveals new opportunities for personal, professional, and organizational growth. 

To ensure that the model functions properly, team leaders must learn about the core drivers of employee engagement in their dedicated departments. And these results may significantly vary from the company-wide assessment. 

That's where employee engagement surveys come in. 

Gallup survey on employee engagement

Based on the employee engagement model and the responses from over 2.7 million associates across more than 100,000 teams from over 50 diverse industries, Gallup has developed a 12-question engagement survey (Q12 survey). 

The questions build upon each other, revealing the most problematic areas within an organization. They cover different areas of personal and professional well-being, such as: 

  • clear communication of responsibilities;
  • workplace recognition policies;
  • availability of materials, equipment, and opportunities to excel at their responsibilities;
  • the overall sense of the importance of daily tasks;
  • relationships with teammates;
  • learning and development opportunities offered by the employer, etc. 

With this survey on employee engagement, Gallup hopes to start a conversation among managers and their teams to motivate employees of different levels and improve overall performance. 

So don't just run the survey to let your team blow off some steam. Instead, use the valuable insight you've gathered to really make a difference. 

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Gallup employee engagement survey results 2020

In October 2020, Gallup conducted its 10th employee engagement meta-analysis that compared the relationship between companies' performance outcomes and their levels of employee engagement measured according to the Q12 survey. 

To this day, it is still the latest and the most comprehensive research of this nature. The 9th edition of a similar meta-analysis was conducted in 2016. 

We've compared the median percent differences of the results, reflecting the performance outcomes among high- and low-engagement companies:

2020 2016
customer loyalty/engagement 10% 10%
profitability 23% 21%
productivity (sales) 18% 20%
productivity (production records and evaluations) 14% 17%
turnover (high-turnover companies)* 18% 24%
turnover (low-turnover companies) 43% 59%
safety incidents (accidents) 64% 70%
shrinkage (theft) 28% 28%
absenteeism 81% 41%
patient safety incidents 58% 58%
quality (defects) 41% 40%
well-being (net thriving employees) 66% n/a
organizational citizenship (participation) 13% n/a

* High-turnover means higher than 40% of annualized turnover; low-turnover are the companies with 40% or lower. 


These results show that the median difference for productivity, turnover, and safety incidents dropped slightly in 2020 compared to 2016. This implies that the significance of employee engagement in relation to these factors decreased as well. 

At the same time, the research also clearly demonstrates the positive correlation between high employee engagement and the productivity of an organization. The variable that particularly stands out is absenteeism (a 40% increase in importance of this variable in 2020 compared to 2016). It means that in 2020, companies achieved an 81% difference in their employees' attendance via employee engagement. In other words, engaged employees are significantly less likely to be absent.

When analyzed together, these findings suggest that people started to value their well-being and work-life balance more over the years between the surveys. We can draw a similar sentiment from the fact that Gallup chose to add metrics such as "well-being" and "participation" to its latest edition of the research. 

What Gallup employee engagement survey results mean in 2022

Companies need to invest in their staff. We already have the lowest employee engagement rates in years, and organizations face a very real threat of performance drops and higher turnover. Together with the performance outcomes presented by Gallup, we couldn’t stress enough the growing importance of the proper introduction of employee engagement policies into your organizational culture these days.  

There are plenty of employee engagement strategies you could try:

  • transparent communication;
  • organizational well-being;
  • learning-and-development opportunities;
  • engaging virtual teams;
  • flexibility and work-life balance, etc. 

Gallup summarized it pretty well in their meta-analysis: 

"What is best for employees does not have to contradict what is best for the business or organizations." 

But before you start introducing new improvement policies, you need to learn what it is your employees actually need. And there's no better way to do that than with an employee engagement survey, such as Q12!


Learn to ask the right questions yourself with these ten proven questions and templates for employee engagement surveys

Already know your results? Check out these essential resources:

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